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Water Quality and Quantity Issues, News and Updates

Water, water everywhere --- and not a drop to drink...”

(from The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge)

Water – Quality & Quantity – A Very Hot Topic

Updated January 2011

Demand for water is projected to outstrip supply by a staggering 40 percent by 2030, and an estimated half the world’s population are likely to live in areas of high water stress by the same year”  -- so states  Paul Dickinson, Executive Chairman of the Carbon Disclosure Project in the CDP Water Disclosure 2010  Global Report.   The situation is getting worse rather than getting better. The pressures of over-population, climate change and increased use per capita are all causing water stresses, although unevenly, throughout the globe. 

Current impacted areas in the news include the Southwestern and Southeastern regions of the United States; China; India; Ireland; the Middle East region; Australia; and many countries in Africa.  The threat has been recognized and throughout the globe and governments, corporations and activists groups are bringing the problem to the forefront and helping to craft and influence both short and long term solutions.

Since this section was first created in 1998, the editors have screened tens of thousands of articles and posted almost 1,000 stories, commentaries and reports. Water – quality and quantity is continuing to be a Hot Topic for AC readers.  As many pundits are saying…water is becoming the new carbon.


In 2006 the United Nations World Water Development Report described the state of water on our planet as a “crisis of governance.”  While the world appears to have enough fresh water supply today, the issue is one of governance, as in water distribution, management and quality control practices.  Water quality appears to be degrading in many areas, our monitoring tells us, and water quantity (supply) is a huge issue in many of the world’s regions.

Due to a number of factors -- mismanagement, limited area resources, and environmental changes, some caused by climate change -- almost one-fifth of the planet’s population still lacks access to safe drinking water and 40 per cent of the world’s population lacks access to basic sanitation. Access to water is further restricted by national and governmental entities that regulate where the water flows, who has access and for what purpose the water is used.  

Water is also used as an economic, health and environmental weapon by the “haves” over the “have-nots.” Governments “determine who gets what water, when and how, and decide who has the right to water and related services,” said the report authors.  Water availability is also related to a range of issues intimately connected to water, from health and food security to economic development, land use, and the preservation of the natural ecosystems on which the water resources depend.

Water quality is declining in most regions of the Earth.  Regional over- population, increased industrialization, absence of proper waste water treatment -- are all contributing to the emerging crisis. Poor water quality is a key cause of poor livelihood and health. An estimated 1.6 million lives (directly or indirectly connected to water quality issues and their related diseases) could be saved each year by providing more access to safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene to the world’s poorest regions.

Access to water is not only a Third World or emerging nations’ issue -- droughts in the U.S. Southeast and quantity issues in the Southwest and in California have brought conservation, control and distribution issues to the public’s attention in the past few years.  Water in the United States is a key factor to residential and commercial development, economic stability and job growth – all issues which effect local and regional communities’ economic well-being. Water in the USA is critical to the health of agriculture and related industries.  Corporations are in the spotlight for their use of water – advocates and third party researchers are developing “water footprints” (similar to “carbon footprints”) for leading companies, such as Coca Cola, Nestle and other water-intensive industries and sectors.

The Editors of Accountability Central work to bring the many facets of Water issues -- especially quality and quantity -- into focus with news, commentary and research.  Education on the issues, public discussion and rising concern can help to bring about real and positive changes and sensible and fair solutions to the problems at hand.  Perhaps this public forum can help in some small way.  The Institute maintains a robust focus on water issues and the key players in its subscription Web-accessed knowledge management platform Sustainability HQ – click here for more

Latest on Water - Quality & Quantity

May 24, 2014 What water wars' 'Think water cooperation', expert says

Source: Reuters

That's a question Asit Biswas, who co-founded the World Water Council and founded the Mexico City-based Third World Centre for Water Management, often asks. For nearly five decades, Indian-born Biswas, who has advised numerous...

May 22, 2014 Campaign to Save Water Begins in Marin, Sonoma Counties

Petakuma Patch - The Sonoma-Marin îSaving Water Partnershipî will use local and regional publications in the North Bay, radio stations and online media to educate the public about outdoor water conservation tips. The...

May 21, 2014 Residents Still Not Drinking Tap Water Two Months After West Virginia Spill (1/2)

TheRealNews - TAJVIDI: In a new îdocumentaryî entitled Poisoned ... HOWLEY: You know, many people have been saying, well, why does Charleston just have îone waterî intake location' Why isn't there another...

May 21, 2014 Texas economy faces rough waves if water shortages ignored, panelists say

Source: Houston Business Journal

Although projected water demand in Texas may not grow as quickly as population projections, the state still faces the potential of a water shortage that could make it tough on the state's overall economy, not just on thirsty...

May 20, 2014 Accelerating Sustainability: Energy and Water in Your Operations and Supply Chains

Ecosystem Marketplace - At the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation's Accelerating Sustainability Forum, in partnership with the US Business Council for Sustainable Development, the îWorld Business Council for Sustainable...

May 20, 2014 California drought will cost thousands of farm jobs: study

Source: Reuters

California's drought will cause thousands of workers to lose their jobs and cost farmers in the state's Central Valley breadbasket $1.7 billion, researchers said in the first economic study of what may be the state's driest year...

May 20, 2014 Solutions to the Global Water Crisis: 10 Takeaways From The World Water Forum

Source: Huff Post

We cannot exist without water. Water is literally "a vital nutrient to the life of every cell," according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) website. The body weight of some organisms is as much as 90 percent water. The human...

May 20, 2014 California Drought Losses Half of Estimate on Groundwater

Source: Bloomberg

California’s agriculture industry will incur less than half the losses forecast in March from the worst drought on record, after groundwater supplies eased the burden on farmers, a group said. Losses will reach $3.4 billion for...

May 19, 2014 World Water Day 2014: The World's Thirstiest Places

Weather Underground - According to World Meteorological Organization secretary-general and îUN waterî chair Michel Jarraud ... causing more than $20 million in damage. îLos Angelesî Airport hit...

May 19, 2014 Sao Paulo Warned to Take Steps to Avoid World Cup Water Shortage

Businessweek - The îWorld Water Councilî is warning Sao Paulo, Brazilâs biggest city, to take emergency measures to conserve water as the region reels from a record drought or risk supply shortages during the...

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